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After several years of trial and error, I’ve come to the realization that resolutions don’t work – period. I have a Gold’s Gym membership that’s been on hold for several months, I have books in my Kindle that are collecting virtual dust and I still work until the wee early hours of the morning. These are all reminders of another failed New Year’s resolution. According to research, 80% of those who make resolutions on January 1 have given up by Valentine’s Day.
Most people think we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try harder. This is the perfect set-up for disappointment. If there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned from the Conquer Series it’s the principle of “trying harder doesn’t work”. The apostle Paul, in Colossians 3:10, tells us to put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of God who created him. Renewed in knowledge refers to the renewing of the mind in Christ.
New Year’s resolutions don’t work because they’re based on the notion of trying harder. We make promises to ourselves that we often can’t to stick to. So what’s this sordid message all about? Well, let me leave you with some hope.
There’s an interesting holiday in Jewish tradition called Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is 10 days after the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation. Before that there is a 10-day period of self-examination and repentance. In the Old Testament, the High Priest would atone for the sins of the people on Yom Kippur. Once the people’s sins have been atoned, they would be given a “new slate”. Not just a clean slate, but a new slate, where they could start the year afresh with God’s forgiveness.
That’s the Old Testament when the Jews had to go through several rituals to obtain atonement because they were under the Law. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, atoned for our sins on the Cross. Today we live under God’s grace, not because of our works, but because of what Jesus did on the Cross. This is our new slate.
To put on the new man means “wearing the identity of Christ” and this process is perfected by the renewing of our mind. How do we practically achieve this?
If there’s one new habit you should learn to form in 2013, it’s speaking the prophetic promises over your life. Think of three prophetic promises that God has given you, whether through a specific promise from God’s Word, a dream He’s placed in your heart or a prophetic word He gave you through someone. Think of those three promises and thank God for them every day. Speak them into your life, especially when your present state is the opposite of that vision and that promise.
The moment you wake, before your feet even hit the floor, you should be speaking the promises that God has on your life. Knowing these and knowing who you are in Christ will help you reach your God-given goals for the year ahead. This is not just another resolution, because the promises are already yours.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
The Conquer Series goes into depth about the prophetic promises and other powerful practical principles that can help you become a conqueror.